Photo: Historic Districts Council

McCarren Pool, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

The McCarren pool, on the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn, opened in July 1936. One of 10 large city pools built by Robert Moses with federal Works Progress Administration funds, the six-acre pool could accommodate 6,800 swimmers and was said to have been among the largest public pools built at that time. The design, by Moses’ architect Aymar Embury II, features a striped arch, more than 38 feet high, that served as a bathhouse.

The other nine WPA pools still function, but McCarren closed in 1983 for renovation. Some residents, claiming it had become a magnet for raucous kids and illegal activities, opposed reopening it.

Now, 22 years later, it remains shut. In 2001, the city presented a $26 million plan for the pool but nothing ever came of it. A spokesperson for the Department of Parks and Recreation said that currently no plans exist for the pool because funding is not available. “Right now, it is the city's most poignant ruin,” Francis Morrone wrote in the New York Sun last year. “For more than 20 years, it has been a monument to shame.”

In March, Community Board 1 approved a report calling for the removal of the pool basin and creation of an open field on the site until funds become available for a new pool. The arch and bathhouse would remain standing under this proposal, which, the board said, is designed primarily to address residents' concerns about the safety of the abandoned site.

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